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HOSPITALS IN CHINA.
Rev. PETER PARKER, M.D.
Medical Missionary of the American Board of Foreign Missions in China.
5DWARD 1 SUTER, 19, CHEAPSIDE.
HOSPITALS IN CHINA.
That the union of the art of healing with that of teaching-, in the
missionary of modern times, is as important as in the early ages of
Christianity, is no longer doubtful. The experiment has been made, and
succeeds. Healing by miraculous agency was employed at the com-
mencement of the Christian era, chiefly as other preternatural powers
were, to establish the divinity of Christianity. A still further object was
to exhibit the beneficent spirit of the Gospel. The age of miracles and
the occasion for them ceased together ; but the spirit of the Gospel is the
same in every age. Healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind and
the ears of the deaf, and causing the tongue of the dumb to speak and the
lame to walk, by natural and scientific means, is not less calculated, in the
nature of things, to conciliate favour, and to demonstrate the disinterested
and benevolent genius of Christianity now, than it was eighteen centuries
ago. Though the practice of medicine and surgery among western nations
is founded upon science, yet, to an uncivilized and superstitious nation, it
has much of the appearance of a superhuman power, which may lawfully
subserve a good end, if the truth of the case be distinctly stated, and their
credulity be not imposed upon. The gratuitous practice of medicine and
surgery, founding hospitals and infirmaries, confers a direct and great
good upon suffering humanity. These have ever been regarded as objects
worthy the support of the benevolent. Often have the rich, in the near
prospect of an exchange of worlds, when seeking for a mode of disposing
of the wealth they cannot carry hence, bequeathed a liberal portion of
their property to such objects, as one of the best means of evincing their
gratitude for the enjoyment of it while they lived, as well as a happy
method of embalming their names in the grateful recollections of myriads,
through coming ages, who shall enjoy the fruits of their well-applied muni-
ficence. This species of charity is peculiarly needed in China. To sustain the
hospitals already established in the empire, and to multiply them, as the
way is prepared, and in them to train up Chinese youth, to extend the
blessings beyond the limits to which the policy of the government restricts
foreigners, and to give a correct and scientific practice of medicine and
surgery to an empire which exceeds in territory and population any other
nation, is of itself a grand enterprise. The undertaking, so great, is also
practicable. Had the object no claims beyond those already alluded to, it
would be deemed sufficient in respect to any Christianised country ; but in
relation to China, they are the subordinate claims, compared with still
higher ones, to which they conduct. In exhibiting the utility and im-
portance of this object, let it not be supposed that any other is displaced.
It is not to be lost sight of for a moment, that Divine truth is the great
agent through which our ultimate aim is to be gained. While by the
needle of the oculist the light may be poured upon the eye long dark, by
the surgeon's knife the useless limb amputated, and by the physician's skill
even the malignant disease may be cured, nothing short of a higher power
can, in a moral sense, remove the film from the eye, clarify the spiritual
vision, and heal the malady of sin. At present, however, it is but to a
limited degree that the higher means can be employed ; but to exhibit the
spirit and the fruits of the Gospel, Providence has remarkably opened the
way ; and it is fondly hoped, that at no distant day, the Chinese will
regard these benevolent offices as such, and permit us to publish and
enforce the precepts of Christianity. After several years' experience and
residence in China, the firm belief is expressed, that in the present state of
the Chinese, who are prejudiced against foreigners, as avaricious and
barbarous, and possessed of no redeeming qualities, there is no method so
directly adapted to remove false impressions, and to convince them of the
true character of Christian men and the Christian religion, as by the plan
adopted by the Medical Missionary Society in China, organised in February
1838. The following extracts from the Constitution of that Society, and
the subjoined documents, will best explain its character and the object of
the present statement
Extracts from Medical Missionary Society's Constitution.
" 1. That in order to give a wider extension, and a permanency, to the efforts
that have already been made, to spread the benefits of rational medicine and
surgery among the Chinese, a Society be organized at Canton, under the name
of the Medical Missionary Society in China. That the object of this Society
be, to encourage gentlemen of the medical profession to come and practise
gratuitously among the Chinese, by affording the usual aid of hospitals, medi-
cine, and attendants ; but that the support or remuneration of such medical
gentlemen be not at present within its contemplation.
" 5. That this association shall have a library, to be called ' the Library of
the Medical Missionary Society in China,' and to be under the control of the
Committee of Management, by which donations of books, &c, may be accepted.
" C. That this Society form a museum of natural and moibid anatomy, paint-
ings of extraordinary diseases, &c, to be called ' the Anatomical Museum of
the Medical Missionary Society in China,' and to be under the control of the
Committee of Management.
■' 7. That all real estate, or other property, belonging to the Society, be held
<m behalf of the same by a board of trustees, to consist of the president, the
treasurer, and the auditor of accounts.
" 8. That candidates for the patronage of the Society must furnish satisfactory
certificates of their medical education, approved by the Society sending them
out, with testimonials from some religious body, as to their piety, prudence, and
correct moral and religious character.
" 9. That this Society will not assume the right to control any individual
acting under its patronage, or to interfere with or modify the instructions he
may have received from the Society sending him out. That it will, however,
expect a strict observance of any general regulations for the management of its
institutions, and a diligent study of some one dialect of the Chinese tongue, on
the part of those who receive its patronage ; and that it will reserve to itself
the right of withdrawing its patronage, at the discretion of the Committee of
Management, from any individual who may, from non-compliance with its
regulations, or from other causes, incur its displeasure."
Regarding the qualifications of men to be employed, the Society used the
following language : —
" For the agents by whom we are to carry our object into execution, we
must look to the Missionary Boards and Committees in Great Britain and the
United States. They have it in their power to help us, and are best qualified
to select men that are fitted to execute our designs. We do not engage to
support such individuals, and therefore shall leave them free to cherish all the
better feelings of an honourable independence. We offer them hospitals, with
every other necessary and suitable accommodation and means of effecting good.
In these hospitals we require for the patients the same uniform and well-con-
sidered attention which are enjoyed in similar institutions at home. Men of
eminent qualifications and tried character are indispensable for the successful
prosecution of the work. For after the Society has done all it can do, by way
of preparation, its direct influence on the Chinese is to be exerted through the
agents it employs: on them, therefore, the destinies of the Society are sus-
pended. If they fail, it fails; their success is its success. They are to give
effect to the wishes of the Society and its friends. Too much care cannot be
bestowed on their selection. Both in character and practice they should be
every way good men. The constitution of the Society has been framed so as
to guard, as far as it is in its power to guard, this point.''
The efforts to benefit the Chinese in this way, in modern times, are
briefly these. Alexander Pierson, Esq. surgeon to the Honourable East
India Company, introduced successfully the art of vaccination, in 1805 ;
this has since extended widely through the empire. Dr. Livingston and
Rev. Dr. Morrison opened an infirmary for the poor Chinese at Macao,
in 1820, which was sustained for some time, and alleviated much suffering.
In 1827, T. R. Colledge, Esq. surgeon to the Honourable East India
Company, opened his Eye Infirmary at Macao, and, during the three
years of its continuance, afforded relief to no less than 4000 patients,
among whom were persons in different ranks, and from various parts of the
empire, from whom he received many and unequivocal tokens of gratitude.
The Ophthalmic Hospital at Canton was opened by Rev. P. Parker, M.D.
October, 1835, and the General Hospital at Macao, in July, 1838. Up
to the 17th June, 1840, these institutions had received upwards of 8000
patients, embracing every variety of disease. It was after long effort that
a place was found for a hospital ; and when at length a suitable building
was rented, and previous notice had been given, the first day no patients
ventured to come ; the second, a solitary female affected with glaucoma,
came; the third (lay, half a dozen ; and soon they came in crowds. It is
difficult to convey to a person who has not witnessed the scenes of the
hospital, a just idea of them. He needs to be present on a day for
receiving new patients, and behold respectable women and children
assembling at the door the preceding evening, and sitting all night in the
streets, that they might be in time to obtain an eaily ticket, so as to be
treated the same day. He need behold in the morning the long line of
sedans extending far in each direction ; see the mandarins, with their
attendant footmen, horsemen, and standard-bearers ; observe the dense
mass in the room below, — parents lifting their children at arms' length
above the crowd, lest they should be suffocated or injured ; stand by during
the examination and giving out of tickets of admission to the hall above,
where they are registered and prescribed for; urgent cases being admitted
at once, while others are directed to come in live or ten days, according to
the ability to attend to them. Upon that floor witness one or two hundred
selected from the hundreds below, (many being sent away, some, indeed,
irremediable, but still more curable, and deserving attention ;) officers of
various rank, from the district magistrate to the criminal judge of the pro-
vince, sitting at the table of the physician, with scores of humbler fellow-
citizens, seeking the same gratuity at the foreigner's hand.
As the impracticability of prescribing and operating the same day has
required a day weekly for surgical operations, (and frequently two days
have been requisite,) on one of these occasions, too, he should be present.
Usually, the amputation of limbs, extirpation of cancerous breasts, or ex-
cision of tumours, come first in the day ; then a company of cataract
patients, from six even to sixteen have been operated upon in the same hour.
In another room are twenty or thirty affected with entropia and pterygia.
Of this division, he might observe a dozen patients seated along a bench,
the surgeon passing from one to another performing the operations, a
native assistant following with needle and sutures, and a second with
adhesive plaster and bandage, availing himself of system and classification
for the sake of dispatch.
He need see the man or child, lately groping in darkness, now rejoicing
to behold the light ; and the fond mother, her countenance overcast with
gloom at the apprehension that her darling child must soon die, presently
wanting terms to express her joy as she sees that child prattling around
her, insensible to the danger from which it has been rescued. And,
again, he should witness the gratitude of those whose protracted afflictions
they had supposed would terminate only with life, in a few days restored
to health; and, as he beholds considerable numbers who never again can
see the light, think of a still larger company who, but for the timely relief
afforded, would have become alike unfortunate.
Patients from all parts of the empire baVe availed themselves of the
benefits of the hospital ; persons of all ranks, — military, naval, and civil
officers, the Nanhaeheer, or district magistrate, the custom-house officer,
salt inspectors, provincial judges, provincial treasurer, a Tartar general,
governors of provinces, commissioner Lin, and a member of tire imperial
A selection from the many hundreds of cures to be found in the Reports
of the hospital, will better explain the influence and benefits of the institu-
tion than any general remarks. They are in an abridged form. Two
cases of interest are first introduced, that occurred in my practice at Singa-
pore, where, from January to August, 1835, no less than 1000 were received
at the dispensary. A Chinese had been wounded by pirates. The ball
entered just above the left ilium, and passed into the cavity of the abdo-
men, as was proved by introducing the finger. It occurred that a ball that
made such an orifice must have some weight to it, and after some preliminary
treatment, the patient on the third day was placed upon his hands and
feet, and the weight of the ball was sufficient to indicate its situation. It was
between the muscles, about two inches from the umbilicus on the opposite
side. An incision was made, and the ball extracted, and also a splinter
of wood, and portion of his garment, that were carried in with it. In six
weeks, the man was able to resume his labour. He received, and read,
and commended too, the Christian books in Chinese put into his hand.
On being asked what he found that interested him, he replied, " A Saviour
A Hindoo was speared by pirates, near Singapore, and his spleen
drawn out by the weapon. He had been exposed in a boat to the sun
for twenty-four hours before he reached the hospital. The wounded
viscera was inflamed, bloody, and filthy. In preference to returning it in
such a state it was excinded ; the man recovered.
Early after opening the hospital at Canton, was called to a young
woman who, at the approach of a thunder-shower, was descending with the
clothes that had been out to dry on the top of the house. She was to
descend into the house by a ladder : her feet slipped at the top round ; she
fell forward, and came down upon the perpendicular standard of her silk
blades. It was a bamboo of an inch diameter sawed off square. This
entered the right axilla, passed upwards, fractured the clavicle, came out
and re-entered the side of the neck, exposing the external jugular, per-
forated the trachea and oesophagus, and was arrested only by the hard
palate on the opposite side. If she took any fluid, it passed out at the side
of the neck ; and at every respiration the air also passed. In about six
weeks, the clavicle had united, the wounds healed up, and several spicula
of bone exfoliated from the roof of the mouth ; the patient recovered, and
has become an athletic woman.
A young man fell from the roof of his house,— fractured the humerus of
his left arm. It partially united under the treatment of native physicians.
Six months previously to coming to the hospital, in the crowd at a Chinese
play, it was severed again, and never united. It was now thirty-one inches
in circumference ahove the elbow, and apparently the tumefaction was
aneurismal, and the integument was very much attenuated. It was
amputated at the shoulder joint with complete success. The severed limb
weighed twenty-three pounds. The young man is now alive, in the enjoy-
ment of good health, whereas but for this operation, he could not have
lived many weeks.
In 1837, a young woman from Fishan had a tumour attached to the
chin and throat more than two feet in circumference. It was in the warm
month of June when she first came to the hospital, the thermometer
averaging 96° in the shade. About to embark for Lew-chew and Japan, I
advised her to defer the operation till the cold weather of autumn. But
no delay could be acceded to on the part of the patient and her venerable
grandfather. The tumour was removed. The operation was performed in
about two minutes. The tumour weighed sixteen pounds. In ten days,
the wound was healed. In December, after my return from Japan, the
patient returned to the hospital to express her gratitude, and brought with
her her first-born son, a fine infant of six weeks old.
From a man of about forty years of age, a tumour weighing seven
pounds, attached to the neck and throat, extending from the left ear to
several inches on the right side of the neck, was also successfully excinded.
In 1838, a young man, aged twenty-three, came to the hospital, with a
singular disease of the hairy scalp, of ten years' growth. A mass half the size
of his head hung loose over the right ear, and down the back of the neck.
It was removed. The integuments were very much thickened, but sepa-
rate from the unformed mass beneath, which was dissected out, exposing
the pericranium below. The portion of scalp taken away was nearly large
enough to cover one-third of his head. He perfectly recovered in eight
Choo Yihleang, a young man blooming with health, had a tumour of a
peculiar character on the right side of his neck, as large as his head. It
was situated beneath the superficial fascia and its superincumbent muscles.
The dav preceding the operation, the patient requested not to be tied,
assuring me he would not move a limb or utter a word. When the
moment arrived, instead of shrinking from the crisis, he put one hand on
the table, and skipped upon it with great agility, as if joyful in the pro-
spect of being freed from so troublesome a companion. In twenty days
he was quite well.
A few weeks after this man, another, named Woo Kinshing, aged forty,
presented himself, with a tumour of great magnitude, resembling in shape a
tenor viol. Superiorly, it extended over the shoulder to the spine of the
scapula, and from the acromion process to the trachea ; and from the axilla
lo the sternum, and as low as the breast, carrying that gland down before
it. The circumference at the base was three feet three inches ; its perpendi-
cular length two feet ; and its transverse diameter one foot eight inches.
It was very vascular, especially the upper portion of it, which was in an
inflamed and ulcerated state; and the principal vein that returned the
blood of the tumour, near the clavicle,— when distended with blood, from
pressure with the finger upon it, was apparently half an inch diameter.
There was a deep longitudinal fissure, and ulcers at several points, dis-
charging blood, lymph, and pus. The weight of it had become exceed-
ingly burdensome ; and several times a day, the patient experienced severe
paroxysms of pain, causing him to groan aloud, at which times he laid his
tumour upon the floor, aud reclined himself upon it ; in this posture he spent
most of his time day and night. His countenance and furrowed brow
expressed the calamity he suffered. The tumour, with great difficulty, but
with complete success, was removed; it weighed fifteen pounds avoirdupois ;
and in eight weeks the patient was discharged in good health.
In one instance, a man presented himself at the hospital with a tumour
attached to his back, and extending nearly to the ground. It was over four
feet circumference, and would weigh, probably, from seventy-five to a hun-
dred pounds. When he sat down, it formed a large circular cushion that
elevated him seven or eight inches. It was proposed to remove it; but his
idol, which he consulted on the occasion, decided against an operation.
In 1838 he died of a fever.
Dropsies are common; and in one instance, twelve gallons of fluid
were abstracted at the same time from a young woman, and permanent
Besides the common diseases to which men in different countries are
subject, some of a peculiar character have presented. In 1839, Chow-
Keatseuen, a florist, aged thirty-one, had a horn upon the top of his head.
Previously to his coming to the hospital, half an iuch of the top had been
cut off; the remaining portion, resembling a truncated cone, was a full
inch high, and two inches circumference. It was attached wholly to the
integument of the scalp. Two elliptical incisions were made, so as to take
out the whole of the integument in which it originated. This was preter-
naturally soft, and the veins and arteries were unusually numerous. The
wound was brought together by sutures and adhesive plaster, and in one
week it was quite well.
Every form of ophthalmic disease has presented ; and great numbers are
now to be found, in different provinces, who once were blind, but are now
enjoying the light of day. A mere outline of the operations of the hospital
is all that has been aimed at in this statement. A compilation of all the
Reports and proceedings of the Society, with plates, representing the more
important surgical cases, is in contemplation for the public.
The most unequivocal expressions of gratitude have been manifested
both in words and in actions. The father, whose only child, a beautiful
daughter, had a tumour of seven pounds weight removed from her back,
after she was discharged well, returned with a scroll with a poetical in-
scription to the physician to this effect: — " A grievous disease had entwined
itself around my little daughter ; I had gone in various directions seeling for
physicians of distinction, and had expended much money upon them in vain ;
when I heard of the foreign'physician in the provincial city, I took my daughter
by the hand, and repaired to his residence with the speed of the courser.
He received and treated my daughter, removing the flaw from the genii
and now she is a perfect pearl again." Though it is more than five years
since the operation, the father retains the most lively gratitude, and returns
from year to year with renewed expressions of it. Similar gratitude has
been manifested by the. young lady from Nanking, who was cured of an
excrescence growing upon the centre of the cornea of her left eye. In one
instance, a brother and sister, the one nineteen, and the other twenty-
one, had cataracts, so that they had lived together for years without seeing
each other's face. They were accompanied by their fond parents.
When the operation was successfully performed for both, they were then, in
the presence of their parents, brought to see each other. The emotions of
all were such as the occasion was calculated to produce. The feelings of
Masze Yay, a Chinese officer still living, and who sends yearly remem-
brances to the physician, is expressed in a poem which may be found
quoted in the Penny Magazine for July, 1837. The Tartar general, who
had cataracts, on leaving the hospital, remarked that he had been an office-
bearer forty-one years ; had visited all the eighteen provinces of the empire ;
" but, (alluding to the operations of the hospital) never have I seen or heard
of one who does such things before ;" and burst forth in the exclamation,
" Taetih, T'eeti shea te e kojin!" — Superlative virtue! the first man under
heaven ! &c. &c.
On the day the hospital was closed at Canton, June 17th, 1840, about
200 Chinese patients and their friends were present ; and when the patients
who came that day for the first time understood that the hospital was to be
closed for a time, they fell upon their faces, and, knocking head upon the
ground, with tears entreated that they too might be healed by the phy-
sician ; and after his instruments were put up to come away, he was pre-
vailed upon to take them out again, to remove all the fingers and the
thumb, which were mortified, of a virtuous young lady of seventeen years.
Most gratifying intelligence has been received from Wm. Lockhart, Esq.
and B. Hobson, Esq. of this country, who are now engaged in this cause
in China. At Chushan, Mr. Lockhart has already treated several hun-
dreds of Chinese, and has a young man of much promise assisting him.
That the existing difficulties between England and China will, sooner or
later, be re-adjusted so as to afford a more extended intercourse with that
empire, none acquainted with the power of England on the one hand, and
the very general desire of the Chinese for commerce on the other, can
doubt ; when, to a greater extent than we are prepared to occupy, a sphere
of benevolent operations will he opened.
More than three years ago, Sir Henry Halford, Bart., President of the
Royal College of Physicians, delivered an interesting address before that
royal institution, exhibiting some of the results of the successful practice of
physic ; the duke of Cambridge, the archbishop of Canterbury, and Sir
Robert Peel, and many other distinguished members of the bar, the bench,
and the senate, being present. The sentiments of the noble baronet are
so important and pertinent to the subject that copious extracts are intro-
duced from the address.*
" I do not intend," said he, " to advert to the pecuniary fruits of our toil ;
nor do I mean to speak of the honours awarded to physicians. No— I contem-
plate the moral influence which the cure of the ills of the body has upon the
minds of the patient. I allude to that deference to the physician's judgment
on other subjects, which follows his successful exercise of it over pain and sick-
ness — to that gratitude and attachment, which is the sweetest reward of our
anxious and laborious life. It is your peculiar privilege, my brethren, in the
daily exercise of your calling, to go about doing good ; and it ought to be a
gratification and encouragement to you to recollect, that the great Author of
our salvation first conciliated the attention and good-will of the multitudes
which followed him, by healing their sick. Nor is it possible to find a happier
moment to create and establish a confidence and a regard in the heart of the
sick person, and of those who are attached to him, than this, in which his own
hopes and fears, and those of his friends, hang upon the physician's counsel and
But while daily experience confirmed the truth of his position, he pre-
ferred turning to history for its verification. After alluding to Homer
and Hippocrates in ancient times, and Jenner in modern, he proceeds, —
" But the anecdote most flattering to the medical profession, which I would
recal to your remembrance, is the occasion of the first establishment of the
East India Company's power on the coast of Coromandel, which was procured
by the favour of the Great Mogul to one of our profession, Gabriel Boughton, in
gratitude for his efficient help in a case of great distress to the monarch ; on
which the Great Mogul's minister asked him what his master could do for
him, to manifest his gratitude for so important a service 1 Gabriel answered,
with a disinterestedness, a generosity, a patriotism beyond praise, ' Let my
nation trade with yours.' — ' Be it so.' Hence did the civilization of that vast
continent begin — from hence the blessed light of the Gospel may have been
first promulgated amongst a hundred millions of native idolaters, since made
partakers of our enlightened comforts."
" This happy result of the successful interposition of one of our medical breth-
ren," remarked Sir Henry, " suggests a question to my mind, — of the expediency
of educating missionaries, who are to be sent to the rude, uninformed population
of distant countries to propagate the Gospel, in the medical art, as the earliest
object of their studies, in order that they make themselves more acceptable
than if they presented themselves professedly to teach a new religion. I pro-
pound this question with great diffidence, particularly in the presence of that
part of my audience with whom it may rest to direct the preliminary education
of this useful body of men ; but I know that the candour of these venerable
characters is equal to their high dignity, and that they will receive my sugges-
* N.B. The Address may be obtained at Murray's, Albemarle Street, and is
worthy the perusal of all.
tions in good part, and feel assured that I mean that these missionaries should
carry the Gospel in their heads and in their hearts, and govern their conduct
by its precepts. '*
" I am sanguine enough to believe that even the Chinese, that proud
and exclusive people, would receive into their country those who enter
with these views, without that suspicion and distrust which they never fail
to manifest when they surmise that trade is the object of the stranger's
visit, or some covert intention to interfere with their institutions; and that
this might be made the occasion of giving the comfort of the Gospel to
three hundred and sixty millions more of the inhabitants of our globe, in
process of time." Then, calling attention to what had beeu done recently
at the Ophthalmic Hospital in Canton, he adds, —
" By endeavouring to benefit both the body and the soul, some favourable
impression, it is to be expected, will be made on the minds of this people.
We cannot expect the Chinese to grasp with eagerness at our improvements,
yet the cure of diseases, set down at once as fatal, in their experience, must be
likely to facilitate the introduction of our knowledge, and add most humanely
to their civilization, and not to their temporal happiness only, but to their
future felicity, by the introduction of the holy Scriptures amongst them, by this
On leaving China in July last, the following letter was addressed to
Dr. Parker: —
*' To the Rev. Peter Parker, M.D.
" Macao, Srd July, 1840.
" My dear Doctor Parker, — The committee of the Medical Missionary Society
have requested me to convey to you their sentiments upon your contemplated
visit to your native country, and it is with feelings of high satisfaction that I
accede to their request. This will be best shown in the words of the resolutions
embodied in the minutes of the last meeting of the committee, held on the 1st
of this month.
" ' Dr. Parker having stated his intention of proceeding to America for a
short time, the committee have much satisfaction in recording their full
" ' While the committee cannot but regret that recent occurrences should
cause any interruption to services so valuable as those which Dr. Parker has
rendered in Canton, they fully concur in the opinion, that as the arduous duties
in which he has been engaged, during a residence of six years in this climate,
make it apparent that, in a few years at least, a temporary return to his native
country would be necessary, his labours could at no time be so well spared as
while the unsettled state of affairs in China render it necessary to close the
hospital in Canton, and while there is so much uncertainty of a speedy solution
of the difficulties that now interfere with a free intercourse with the Chinese.
*' ' From Dr. Parker's well known zeal in propagating an enlightened faith,
and in the pursuit of the medical profession as a means of promoting that object
among the Chinese, the committee entertain hopes that the interests of the
society will be benefited by his visit to America, and the opportunities it will
afford of a personal exposition of the objects of the society, by one who has
enjoyed such extensive intercourse with this people ; and the committee would
suggest the propriety of taking occasion to lay before the public in America,
and in England, should it be convenient for Dr. Parker to visit that country
before his return, a statement of the objects and prospects of the society, the
work that has been already done, and the preparation now making by the
medical officers of the society to take advantage of a more extended sphere of
" ' The committee also take this opportunity of expressing their high sense
of the value of Dr. Parker's services, of his unremitting attention to his profes-
sional duties, of his patient endurance in overcoming the obstacles that exist in
the Chinese mind to an intercourse with foreigners, and of his ardent zeal in
doing good ; and request Dr. Anderson to convey to him the sentiments con-
tained in the above resolutions, and the hope they entertain of his return ere
long to resume his labours, when there is every hope that the exclusive policy
of this empire may be removed, and an unlimited field of useful labour opened.'
" In acting as the organ of the committee on this occasion, I have the great-
est pleasure in bearing witness to the general interest that is taken in the
Medical Missionary Society, to the zeal and abilities you have manifested in
your professional labours among the Chinese, and to the success that has
attended them ; to the high feeling of respect that is entertained by the whole
community in China for yourself as a man and as a Christian, and as one
devoting your life to an object productive of so much present good, and that
holds out so much hope of promoting the eternal welfare of a large portion of
our fellow men.
" With most sincere wishes that the interests of the society may be advanced,
and your own constitution renovated by your visit to your native land,
" Believe me, my dear Doctor Parker, yours most sincerely,
" To the Rev. P. Parlter, M.D. Alexander Andekson."
In accordance with the wishes thus expressed by the Society, Dr. Parker
has presented the subject in America, where it has met with a most cordial
reception, particularly from the medical profession, ever ready to promote
the best interests of their fellow-men. In New York, he had the pleasure
of meeting a number of the most distinguished gentlemen in the profession,
at their own request. Not merely willing to aid by their money, but
believing that an expression of the estimation in which their labours were
held by the medical faculty, well known in the city, would he calculated
to secure the confidence and aid of the benevolent, who are ever ready to
patronise a worthy object, a committee was appointed to draw up such a
testimonial, which is also subjoined.
" New York, April 6th, 1841.
" We, the undersigned members of the medical profession, having made our-
selves acquainted with the plans of the Medical Missionary Society of China, do
hereby cordially recommend the objects of that Society to the Christian com-
munity in this country. The leading object of the Society is the establishment
of hospitals and dispensaries in the accessible parts of the Chinese empire. By
founding such institutions, the Society hopes to confer immense benefits upon
the Chinese people. It is well known, that the system of medicine which is
pursued in China by the native physicians, consists of an absurd farrago of
empirical remedies, which are administered without discrimination ; and that
these practitioners are acquainted with no remedies for many of the most
simple and easily curable forms of disease. It is therefore manifest, that the
establishment of hospitals, and of other kindred institutions, under the direction
of well educated and properly qualified physicians, must be a source of great
benefit to the people. And it appears from the published reports of the
Medical Missionary Society, that the hospitals which have already been estab-
lished have been the means of relieving a large amount of suffering, of re-
moving many distressing infirmities, and of saving a number of valuable lives.
Another important advantage to be derived from these institutions is the
opportunity of instructing native young men in the principles of the healing
art, and thus of rearing up a body of practitioners, to extend the benefits of
medical science and professional skill among the millions of their countrymen.
It is hoped that by these means the confidence of the Chinese people may be
gained, and that the prejudices which they entertain towards foreigners may
be overcome : indeed much has already been accomplished in this manner.
The ultimate and the most important object at which the Society aims in the
prosecution of its plans, is the advancement of the Christian religion among
the inhabitants of this vast and populous empire ; and there is probably no
other method by which the confidence of the people can be so readily secured,
and so powerful an influence can be exerted in favour of Christianity, and so
strong a practical demonstration can be given of its benevolent attributes.
The advantages resulting from these institutions are fully appreciated by the
resident missionaries from England and America, who are engaged in more
direct efforts to lead the Chinese people to the knowledge and adoption of the
Christian faith. So far as we are acquainted with the individuals who are
engaged in this enterprise, and with the measures which they are pursuing in
order to its advancement, we regard them as entitled to the highest confidence.
An effort is about to be made to obtain the co-operation of benevolent persons
in this country and in England, in promoting the objects and extending the
benefits of the Medical Missionary Society. Believing, as we do, that the
highest interests of the people of China are involved in the success of this
undertaking, we heartily unite in urging its claim upon the confidence and
support of the community.
J. Kearny Rodgers, M.D. James M'Neilson, M.D.
Ja. Bliss, M.D. E. Mead, M.D.
Nicoll H. Deking, M.D. Gilbert Smith, M.D.
Joseph M. Smith, M.D. Albert Smith, M.D.
J. Smyth Rogers, M.D. Alfred C. Post, M.D.
James L. Phelps, Benj. Ogden, M.D."
In the city of Washington, (D.C.,) in Philadelphia, and Boston, similar
interest was manifested, and resolutions passed. The minutes of the
Medical Association of Boston, at a full meeting held on the 14th April,
and signed by the most distinguished ornaments of the profession in that
city, and several of them Professors in Harvard University, is also given : — •
" BOSTON MEDICAL ASSOCIATION.
■' At a meeting of the Boston Medical Association, in the Massachusetts
Medical College, on the 14th of April, 1841, the attention of the meeting was
called by Dr. Jackson to the subject of the hospitals established in Canton and
Macao in China, to the Medical Missionary Society formed in that country,
and to the efforts which were making there to extend a knowledge of medical
and surgical science among the natives. He stated that, in 1834, the Rev.
Peter Parker, M.D., was sent by the American Board for Foreign Missions, as
a missionary to China ; that this gentleman had previously studied medicine as
well as theology, had received in regular course a medical diploma from Yale
College, and was by his talents and character admirably adapted for the work
he engaged in ; that on his arrival in China he was induced to evince the excel-
lence of his religion by acts of benevolence and professional skdl, by healing the
sick, by giving sight to the blind, and by enabling the lame to walk ; that in
1835 he established a hospital in Canton, and subsequently one at Macao ; that
his own services had been rendered in all cases, whether to the rich or the
poor, without fee or reward, and that he had found means to give support to
many poor patients while undergoing treatment ; that hitherto the expenses of
his hospitals, which were exceedingly moderate, had been defrayed by contri-
butions derived principally from the American and English residents in China,
but that in the present state of mercantile affairs in that country, these re-
sources had failed ; that it was desirable, not only to maintain these hospitals,
but to establish others wherever the Chinese would permit ; and for this pur-
pose assistance must be sought in this country and in Great Britain, and if
possible, that this benevolent project should be carried on and maintained by
permanent funds. It was further stated, that Dr. Parker had made many
valuable friends among the English at Canton, and by their invitation he was
about to make a short visit to Great Britain; that he looked to that country,
as well as to this, for aid to his benevolent efforts ; and that he surely might
well solicit this aid, as he had nothing to ask for himself, but had devoted his life
to the objects which had been described, receiving only a bare support from the
Board which had employed him ; thatit became medical men to sympathize with
one who had done so much honour to their profession ; that a recommendation
of Dr. Parker's objects to public favour by this Association might have some
influence, although it would seem manifest that, without any recommendation,
men of intelligence and wealth would see that the furtherance of those objects
would be not less important to the interests of the trading community, than to
those of an enlarged philanthropy. He then stated that Dr. Parker had come
to the meeting on his invitation, and moved that Dr. Parker be requested to
give a statement of his experience on the subject which had been mentioned,
and an explanation of his wishes in regard to it.
" Dr. Parker then proceeded to give to the meeting at some length, an
account of the state of medical science among the Chinese; by which it
appeared that little knowledge of the principles of medicine exists in that
nation, and still less of those of surgery. Their practice is grossly inefficient,
and marked by ignorant and superstitious formalities. Since the establishment
of the missionary hospitals, many thousands have resorted to them for relief,
and among these have been individuals from a great distance, some of them
persons of rank and wealth, and even members of the emperor's household.
The applications were stated to be more numerous than could be received, and
the confidence entertained in the medical powers of the foreign physicians, by
the Chinese, was most extensive and implicit. Many interesting cases were
detailed, of the relief afforded by Dr. Parker and his associates, particularly in
surgical and ophthalmic operations, in cases to which the resources of the native
practitioners were totally incompetent.
" No one who heard the statements of Dr. Parker could refrain from being
satisfied, that the introduction of an enlightened medical practice among the
Chinese, offers one of the surest avenues to the confidence and friendly inter-
course of that secluded people.
" It was then voted that the following resolves be adopted, as expressing the
opinions of this Association : —
" 1. That the measures which have been pursued in China by the Rev. Peter
Parker, M.D., as a Christian missionary, merit the highest commendation, as
exhibiting to the Chinese a compliance with the great law of love, which distin-
guishes the Christian religion.
" 2. That the course pursued by Dr. Parker is to be commended for its pro-
spective, as well as immediate effects, inasmuch as, while he has afforded relief
to the sick and suffering, the treatment of them has been made to furnish
instruction to native Chinese, by whom a knowledge of medicine and surgery
may be rendered more extensively useful among their numerous countrymen.
" 3. The disinterestedness and personal sacrifices of a missionary, who banishes
himself from his own country, as Dr. Parker has done, to labour in a foreign
land, add very much to the interest which the objects of his pursuit are well
calculated to inspire.
" 4. That the benefits to be obtained by a continuation of the labours of Dr,
Parker, with those of such coadjutors as may be joined to him, are so manifest
and practical, and the prospects opening from them promise so much benefit to
the mercantile intercourse of our countrymen, as well as to the Chinese nation,
that his plans must undoubtedly obtain the support of our citizens, if they can
be brought distinctly before them.
" 5. That, accordingly, this Association invite the attention of men of property
to the medical establishments in China, and earnestly recommend that they
should furnish such assistance as shall give a permanent maintenance to these
" 6. That a committee be appointed to consult with any persons who may
take an interest in the subject of the medical establishments in China, and to
take such measures as may seem to them expedient, to obtain the aid required.
" It was voted that Drs. Jackson, Warren, Shattuck, Hooper, and Bowditch,
be a committee to carry into effect the sixth resolution.
" It was voted that the proceedings of this meeting be published, signed by
the names of the chairman and secretary, together with those of a committee
appointed for the purpose.
James Jackson, John Jeffries,
John C. Warren, Enoch Hale,
George 0. Shattuck, Woodbridge Strong,
Walter Channing, John B.S. Jackson,
Edward Reynolds, J. V. C. Smith,
Solomon Townsend, John Ware, Committee.
Jacob Bigelow, Chairman.
James B. Gregerson, Secretary.''
The object proposed is to raise in England and America a permanent fund
for the support of the " Medical Missionary Society in China," for the
maintenance of the hospitals already established, and for the founding
of others at every accessible and eligible part of China ; it being also a
prominent object to train up Chinese youth of talent, to extend the
blessings through the empire ; in all our efforts, never losing sight of the
paramount object, — the introduction of the Gospel.
A peculiarity of the Medical Missionary Society in China is, that it ad-
dresses itself to the consideration of all. The man of science and the philanthro-
pist, who look especially to immediate benefits, are here interested ; and to the
sympathies of those who, while they equally appreciate the desirableness of con-
tributing in every feasible manner to the welfare of their species for time, contem-
plate with unspeakably more solicitude those interests which are eternal, it presents
an irresistible, an overwhelming claim. When we reflect upon the present state
of surgery and medicine in China, the suffering that is experienced, the lives
annually and needlessly lost, and advert to the time when similar ignorance
was the misfortune of the nations of Europe ; and when we consider the
rational basis upon which science is now established, and our facilities for im-
parting to others the incalculable benefits received from the application of
chemistry and natural and inductive philosophy to the subject of health, in
the investigation of the causes and phenomena of disease and the means of
The world is a whole— and as the human race approximates to the per-
fection which it is destined to reach, the principle of union and fellow-feeling
will become more and more influential. A Bacon, a Newton, or a Franklin, is
not to be monopolized. Such men belong not merely to the nation that gave
them birth, but to the whole world. They were doubtless designed by Provi-
dence to be blessings, not merely to a single age or country, but to all succes-
sive ages, and to every land. Upon those who first enjoyed the boon, rests the
obligation to extend universally their principles, which have revolutionized the
philosophy and science of Europe, and which, whenever permitted free ingress,
will produce similar results in China. Surely, no accumulation of arguments is
required to prove a case so clear. If the principle is admitted that our race
is one, then the remoteness of the empire for which we plead cannot neutralize
When we survey the vastncss of the field, the good to be effected, and
when, reflecting upon the immense resources of the western hemisphere, we
compare these with the small portion of wealth required to secure the desired
object, we are confident that benevolence, disinterested like its Author, and as
expansive as the woes of man are extensive, will not withhold the means. A
rare opportunity is here afforded to the philanthropist of doing good — of enjoy-
ing the felicity of imparting to others, without diminution to himself, some of
its richest blessings. He is invited to unite in accomplishing a great, imme-
diate, and positive good, — is encouraged by the hope of immediate success, to
aid in uniting to the great family of nations, this long severed and secluded
branch, and in introducing among the people, not only the healing art, but in
its train the sciences, and all the blessings of Christianity.
When passing through this,' great metropolis, my eye falls upon those
noble capitals, inscribed upon hospitals and infirmaries, — " Founded by
Voluntary Contribution," or at St. Paul's cathedral I behold the bust
of Howard, with the key of the prison in one, hand, and the important
scroll, " A Proposal for the Improvement of Prisons," in the other, and the
chains and manacles of the prisoner under his feet, I am reminded this is
the land in which philanthropy has flourished. And when an object so
vast and so good, and withal so practicable, as to give hospitals and infir-
maries, retreats for the insane, and asylums for lepers, and an enlightened
medical and surgical practice to the millions of China, and ultimately, all
the blessings of Christianity, — the sanguine hope is cherished that it will
meet a full response.
In reference to the direct benefits resulting from the efforts of the
Medical Missionary Society in China, his Royal Highness the Duke of
Sussex remarked, — " Yes, I can speak experimentally upon that subject,
having had the cataract extracted from both my eyes;" and added, that
several members of his family had had also the same affection. This is_a
case in point, and from its proximity in time and space, must be appre-
ciated. Let any reflect upon the happiness derived from surgical skill in
this instance ; rendering visible the beauties of the park and the palace, and,
above all, the greetings of friendly countenances, instead of spending the
evening of life in total darkness ! This happiness has been conferred on
hundreds in the various provinces of the Chinese. empire, where upon the
child of four years, and the aged patient of fourscore, the operation has
been successfully performed for the same. Upon myriads more, through
coming generations, similar blessings may be conferred. If the healing
art is to be introduced into China, who can better do it than the nations
of the west? When it is once established, it is not likely it will be
lost again ; and thus the blessings, each so valuable, will be multi-
plied and extended through coming time, whilst the more important ones
at which we aim will pass onward during the endless future.
London : Edward Sutcr, Printer, 19, Cheapside,